In another blow to the company’s long-standing reputation for quality, Toyota said that they would announce another recall today, spanning some 2.3 million cars for problems with sticking accelerator pedals.
The January 2010 recall includes the 2009-2010 RAV4, the 2009-2010 Corolla, the 2009-2010 Matrix, the 2005-2010 Avalon, the 2007-2010 Camry, the 2010 Highlander, the 2007-2010 Tundra and the 2008-2010 Sequioia. Toyota noted that the recall does not include the Prius or any of the Lexus or Scion brands, which use a pedal system from a different manufacturer.
The company was quick to note that this is actually a separate recall from the late 2009 recall involving 4.3 million vehicles for incorrect floor mats. This issue is related to the pedal system itself, which can become worn down and can become “sticky over time,” according to company spokesman Brian Lyons.
Click below to hear the telephone call we had with Toyota’s Brian Lyons this afternoon.
The company’s press release provided an explanation of what a driver might experience:
“The condition is rare, but can occur when the pedal mechanism becomes worn and, in certain conditions, the accelerator pedal may become harder to depress, slower to return or, in the worst case, stuck in a partially depressed position.”
Toyota noted that the remedy and timing of the fix isn’t apparent yet. Today’s announcement is a notice that they will bring a recall, not the actual recall filing itself.
Although Toyota hasn’t indicated how many incidents led to this particular recall, they did indicate that reports of stuck gas pedals have surfaced in vehicles with no floor mats.
“In recent months, Toyota has investigated isolated reports of sticking accelerator pedal mechanisms in certain vehicles without the presence of floor mats,” said TMS Group Vice President Irv Miller.
“Our investigation indicates that there is a possibility that certain accelerator pedal mechanisms may, in rare instances, mechanically stick in a partially depressed position or return slowly to the idle position. Consistent with our commitment to the safety of our cars and our customers, we have initiated this voluntary recall action.”
Following the tragedy that claimed the lives of a family of four last August, Toyota has been more closely investigating throttle issues on all of their vehicles. The terrible tragedy of the Saylor family occurred when the gas pedal of the family’s loaner Lexus ES350 became entrapped on the floor mat. We later learned that the accident was entirely avoidable, as another customer reported a similar issue to the dealership earlier that week. Sadly, the message was never relayed and nothing was done to address it.
While the dealership was more to blame in that situation, Toyota began an intense investigation. Besides issuing a voluntary recall on affected vehicles, Toyota also offered some advice that can be used here as well, if you happen to find yourself in a situation where your gas pedal becomes stuck while depressed.
If the accelerator pedal sticks in a partially open throttle position or returns slowly to idle position, the vehicle can be controlled with firm and steady application of the brakes. Don’t pump the brakes because it could deplete the vacuum assist. That would make it even harder to depress the brake pedal. The brakes will stop the vehicle no matter the throttle position. When under control, the vehicle should be driven to the nearest safe location and the engine should be turned off. Contact a Toyota dealer as soon as possible for assistance.
AOL Autos Correspondent Frank Filipponio contributed to this report.